Front-loading machines tend to be very expensive, shake more, and require watertight seals that are prone to mold. Owning one is one big hassle, because your laundry machine could easily be up for repairs. Well, say goodbye to the front-loading washing machines! After years of development, Whirlpool has created a new washing machine that combines the best features of front loaders and top loaders into one splendid machine:
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Whirlpool’s latest washer is a “2 in 1” top loader that features the industry’s first removable agitator. The agitator is that spindle in the middle of a traditional washing machine, which rotates the clothing back and forth underwater to wash it. (Front loaders, on the other hand, rely on a basket tumbling clothing in a circle, dropping clothing into a small pool of water again and again to clean it.)
As the name suggests, you can use the washer two ways. The first is a totally traditional wash, with the agitator in. But with a simple grab of the agitator, you can remove it and set it aside. This opens the washer’s cavity, making it larger.
“It’s like a twist,” explains Nelly Martinez, senior manager of the Whirlpool brand. “Basically on the top, there’s a handle. You pull it up, twist, and it comes out. We wanted to make sure the feeling of how we were building [the agitator] was durable . . . and people felt a confidence when they were pulling it out or in that it was going to stay there.”
The removable agitator is a nice UX touch. But what happens when you pull that agitator out? Will your clothes just be stuck in place during the laundry cycle and not get clean? No! Because once you remove the agitator, the system features what’s called an impeller at the bottom of the machine—a flat disc that sprays water upward from the bottom of the machine and uses fins to coax clothing to constantly rotate toward the middle of the machine.
Image via Fast Company